The forum that put all the religions on the planet to speak and laid the foundations of the yoga that you practice

On May 1, 1893, the World Columbian Exposition in Chicagoa world fair that, over the next six months (until October 30) would bring together all kinds of events in the US capital, predominantly those dealing with new inventions, prototypes and products that were intended to be launched on the market, as well as attractions, shows or numerous conferences of relevant characters of the time.

Between September 11 and 27, 1893, the World Parliament of Religions took place in Chicago (image via Wikimedia commons)

One of the things that most caught the attention of visitors to this Chicago World’s Fair (as it was also known) was to find the life-size reproductions of the three ships used by Christopher Columbus on his first voyage to the New World, in 1492 (the Pinta, the Niña and the Santa María) and that was part of the continuation of the celebration that had been taking place for a year (1892) to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the discovery of America. The reproduction of these ships was made in Spain and shipped by sea to the United States.

But there was also an act that took place over two weeks (between September 11 and 27) and that brought together representatives of virtually all religions on the planet in a massive event.

It was named as ‘World Parliament of Religions’ (Although it is also cited as ‘Parliament of World Religions’) and was characterized by being the first time in the history of humanity in which a forum for dialogue and an attempt at understanding between the different confessions of the planet was created.

Hundreds of people from all corners of the world traveled to Chicago and participated in different organized round tables, in which numerous topics were discussed whose central axis was tolerance and mutual respect between the different confessions and an approach to peace and coexistence. through spirituality.

Despite becoming a complete success, the organizers of the ‘World Parliament of Religions’ received some harsh criticism for having left out representatives of American indigenous religions and yet they had carried very minority religions, with hardly any practitioners or followers, being unknown to the vast majority.

It was also noteworthy that religious organizations considered to be sects did get a place at the event and some groups dedicated to spiritism and the paranormal even had representation.

Among the very numerous presence of religious representatives from all over the world, there was a character who stood out the most and whose parliaments and conferences stood out, being currently still referenced. It was about Swami Vivekanandawho represented Hinduism, having the opportunity to deliver his first speech in the afternoon session on the opening day of the event (September 11).

Until the closing day (September 27), Vivekananda offered five more speeches on different days, creating great expectation in the ever-increasing number of people he gathered.

According to the greatest current experts on the matter, the interventions and words of Swami Vivekananda during the World Parliament of Religions became the cornerstone of what is today Hindu philosophy, meditation and yoga in the West.

It also served for Hinduism to take the colors out of Western imperialism, showing that the evangelizers who came to India were more concerned with forcing the population to embrace their faith than with worrying about their real problems (such as the hunger they suffered or the high degree of illiteracy).

Despite the resounding success of the World Parliament of Religions in 1893, the numerous criticisms received by the organizers meant that a similar event would not be held again in the following years and it was not until a century later (in 1993) that it was put into a similar one marches (this time counting on all the confessions). Since then it has been carried out in the years 1999, 2004, 2009, 2015, 2018 and 2021 and taking place in different places on the planet such as Cape Town, Barcelona, ​​Melbourne, Brussels or Toronto and even, the last (in 2021) was held online due to the Covid19 pandemic.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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The forum that put all the religions on the planet to speak and laid the foundations of the yoga that you practice